Health Benefits of Vitamin Supplements
Vitamin supplements seem to be advertised everywhere nowadays. We’re constantly bombarded by claims of a longer life, more beautiful skin, and a trimmer waistline, all of which are attributed to multivitamins or various vitamin supplements. You may find yourself wondering what the real health benefits of vitamins actually are.
What are the health benefits?
The quick and easy answer to the question of whether vitamin supplements offer health benefits is a resounding, yes. However, it is essential that you choose the right supplement to best benefit your health and nutrient needs. Choosing the appropriate supplement can help to stave off age-related illnesses, keep skin healthy and vibrant, and prevent chronic diseases and conditions.
For example, regular folic acid, B6, and B12 have been reported to lower the incidence of heart disease. Lycopene, an antioxidant that is commonly regarded as a vitamin, has been shown to lower the risk of cancer, and vitamin B12 and D can help prevent cognitive issues and keep the brain sharp.
The biggest health benefit is that vitamins provide a safety net for people individuals who don’t get enough of a nutrient. These people can supplement their diets to ensure that they’re able to meet their nutritional need. This is especially great for essential nutrients like vitamin D and C that assist in healthy immune function, iron that assists in the creation of red blood cells, and selenium for thyroid health and efficiency.
Who benefits most from vitamin supplements?
People who benefit most from vitamin supplements include pregnant or breastfeeding women, vegetarians, and vegans, people living in low-sunlight areas, postmenopausal women, the elderly, and women with heavy periods.
- Pregnant or Breastfeeding Women
This group benefits most by the use of a prenatal vitamin and folic acid. Specifically, the use of folic acid prior to and during pregnancy decreases the chances of neural tube defects and assists in brain development.
- Vegans and Vegetarians
Because B vitamins are most present in foods that contain animal products, vegans and vegetarians can benefit from a B12 supplement.
- Those in Low-Sunlight Areas
Because the majority of our vitamin D comes from the sun, individuals in low-sunlight areas, such as the Pacific Northwest, benefit from a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D works to bolster the immune system, fight depression, and is essential in processing calcium.
- Postmenopausal Women
Postmenopausal women lose bone density at a greater rate and are at a greater risk for fractures. This group benefits most from a calcium and vitamin D supplement.
Elderly individuals tend to have difficulty absorbing B vitamins, specifically B12. So, like vegetarians and vegans, the elderly may benefit from taking B12. This assists in brain function and red blood cell production.
- Women with Heavy Bleeding
Women with heavy bleeding during their periods may suffer from low iron levels. Since iron is essential in red blood cell creation, these women may suffer from anemia without the assistance of a supplement.